A recent case in Western Australian involving the performance of shoddy renovation work highlights the importance of employing registered builders.

An unregistered builder in Western Australia has been prosecuted by the state’s Building Commissioner for performing illegal home renovation work, after failing to pay compensation to the owners as ordered by the State Administration Tribunal.

Richard Jonathon Sheridan, a resident of the Vines in Perth’s Swan Valley region, performed a $250,000 renovation of a house in Scarborough during the second half of 2011 without the requisite building registrations.

In July Sheridan pleaded guilty before the Perth Magistrates Court to one charge each of contracting for and carrying out building work worth more than $20,000 without first obtaining the necessary registrations – actions which are deemed offences under the Building Services (Registration) Act 2011, as well as the repealed Builders Registration Act 1939. 

In addition to prosecution for the performance of building work while unregistered, Sheridan was also convicted for entering a non-complying cost-plus contract and failure to obtain home indemnity insurance for the building work – both of which are offences under the Home Building Contracts Act 1991.

As a directed result of these infractions Sheridan has sustained a loss of $42,500 – including a court-ordered fine of $10,000 and related costs of $2,500, as well as the payment of $30,000 in compensation to the owners of home which was renovated.

The home owners, who had poured their life savings into the renovation, dismissed Sheridan after finding his building work to be unsatisfactory, as well as submitted a complaint to the Building Commissioner.

The complaint was subsequently referred to the State Administrative Tribunal, which ordered Sheridan’s company, One Emperor Pty Ltd, to pay $52,755.50 to the owners in September 2012.

By the time One Emperor entered liquidation in October 2012 the compensation sum remained unpaid, while the absence of a policy of home indemnity insurance left the owners unable to claim the amount of the order from an insurance company.

According to Building Commissioner Peter Gow the case underlines the need for consumers to enlist registered builders for the projects worth more than $20,000.

“The registration system ensures that a person with the necessary qualifications, knowledge and experience is entitled to carry out work according to the appropriate standards,” said Gow.

“Consumers should protects themselves by engaging the services of a registered building service provider when required and knowing their rights and responsibilities before they enter into a home building work contract for building work.”